Incumbents stay put in town, county elections

Joe Nikic Noah Manskar And Harrison Marder

Democrats in the Nassau County Legislature maintained their seven seats to avoid a Republican supermajority and all five incumbents in the Town of North Hempstead won re-election on Tuesday — including four Democrats.

Dino DeGeorgio, the lone incumbent Republican town councilman, escaped with a victory of 232 votes, out of 6,525 cast, defeating Democratic political newcomer Emily Beys 3,378 to 3,146.

Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum, who had been stripped of her position in the Democratic caucus for racially charged comments she made in 2014— easily bested Republican challenger Lisa Benjamin and Green Party candidate Cassandra Lems, receiving 5,300 of the votes to Benjamin’s 3,014 and Lems’ 138.

 

Town of North Hempstead

North Hempstead Town Supervisor

Judi Bosworth led the town Democrats, receiving nearly 68 percent of votes to win re-election as the Town of North Hempstead’s supervisor against Republican candidate Anthony Bulzomi, who received 32 percent of the votes — 20,122 to 9,587.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve as supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead for another two years.  Fiscal responsibility, open and transparent government, environmental protection, and responsiveness to our residents and businesses will remain of paramount importance to me as I prepare to begin my second term,” Bosworth said. “I am looking forward to working together with our dedicated Town Council as we continue to make the Town of North Hempstead one of the best places to live, raise a family, and retire.”

Bulzomi said the result was surprising because residents told him they were disappointed with Bosworth’s work in office.

“It certainly wasn’t what I was hoping for. Surprise, yeah. That would be the best word to describe it,” he said. “As I went around to different towns in North Hempstead, at least the feedback I got was disappointment and I thought that would reflect in the polls. I guess the people who were upset and disappointed did not turn out to vote, which reflected in the low voter totals.”

Bosworth, a Great Neck resident, spent six years as county legislator for the 10th district before winning the election for her first term as North Hempstead Town Supervisor in 2013.

She is formerly a Great Neck Board of Education President, serving 16 years as a trustee.

Bosworth said since she took office, it has been a priority to cut the town’s debt without cutting services available to residents and “open a more transparent government” through moving the public comment portion of town board meetings to the beginning of meetings, as well as live streaming meetings on the town’s website.

Bulzomi, a Westbury resident and Carle Place Board of Education trustee, said there needed to be better communication between North Shore’s government entities to identify ways of consolidating services and cut spending.

Bulzomi, who works for Manhattan construction planning firm The Gordian Group, unsuccessfully sought the Town Council’s 1st district seat in 2013 against Democrat Viviana Russell.

Efforts to reach Bosworth after the election were unavailing.

The Town Supervisor position offers a $133,000 per year salary for a two-year term.  

North Hempstead

Town Receiver of Taxes

Democrat Charles Berman was re-elected as the town’s Receiver of Taxes, receiving 65 percent of the votes to Republican candidate Scott Diamond’s 35 percent — 18,947 to 10,157.

“I am very grateful for all the support I got from the voters. I never take an election for granted but I am very happy about the outcome,” Berman said. “I’m going to continue working as hard as I can to bring the best possible service to our residents from our offices.”

Diamond, an auxiliary police officer where he resides in Mineola, said he expected a closer race.

“My election race was unexpected but I was even more upset that Kate Murray lost,” he said, referring to the Town of Hempstead supervisor’s losing effort against Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas. 

Berman first served as the North Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes in 2003 before leaving in 2004 to serve as assistant to the chairman of the Nassau County Board of Assessors.

After winning a special election for a one-year term in 2010 as the town’s Receiver of Taxes, he was re-elected for a four-year term to the position in November 2011.

Berman, a Roslyn resident, said he wanted to continue the public forums he began in 2010 that educate residents on filing property assessment grievances. 

He also said the current property assessment system is “totally broken and unfair and uneven.”

Diamond served on Hilary Clinton’s 2000 campaign for the United States Senate and ran against state Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel in 2010 to represent the state’s 16th district.

Diamond, an avid social media user, said he also wanted to hold public forums to educate residents on filing property assessment grievances and be more available to residences through social media applications like Facebook and Twitter.

The Receiver of Taxes earns $115,000 per year over a four-year term. 

North Hempstead

Town Board, Sixth District

In the closest town council race, De Giorgio won re-election to represent the town’s 6th district by receiving 52 percent of the votes to Democratic candidate Emily Beys’ 48 percent of the votes.

Although she lost, Beys said campaigning was an experience that helped her learn more about local government.

“I think it was a great experience for me. I was able to meet many people within Port Washington, and within the entire district,” Beys said. “I got to see things and learn things I was never exposed to. I think it’s important for every citizen to get involved. I look forward to getting involved and staying active in the community.”

The 6th district includes the Port Washington and the villages of Flower Hill, Plandome, Plandome Heights, and Plandome Manor.

De Giorgio, a Port Washington resident, was elected for her first term as councilwoman in 2011. 

She also ran against Judi Bosworth for North Hempstead Town Supervisor in 2013.

De Giorgio, who operates a law practice in Port Washington and is affiliated with her husband’s contracting business, said it was a positive thing that she owns a small business in the district in response to her Democratic opponent Emily Beys saying an elected official should not have other interests in their district.

Beys, a former vice president of Sales for Interep Radio Sales Inc., said residents told her they were concerned about De Giorgio’s alleged interests after the Model Blocks project, a revitalizing plan aimed to improve Port Washington’s Main Street businesses and streetscaping, began in 2011.

Both De Giorgio and Beys said they wanted to improve business in the district by filling empty storefronts with thriving businesses.

Efforts to reach De Giorgio after the election were unavailing. 

North Hempstead Town Board,

Second District

Democratic Councilman Peter Zuckerman won the town’s Second District seat for the second time in two years, beating Republican Henry Golis 66 percent to 34 percent — 3,164 to 1,659.

“I believe our entire administration will do tremendous things over the years to come and we’re all very excited,” Zuckerman said.

Golis said he felt good about his campaign despite the loss, adding that he knocked on 200 to 300 doors each day.

“I was glad I was able to bring to light some of the issues facing the town that should really seriously be addressed,” he said.

Zuckerman was appointed to the Town Board in January 2014 after former Councilman Thomas Dwyer resigned to take a consulting job.

He beat East Williston Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente last November to keep his seat representing the dstrict, which includes Greenvale, Roslyn Harbor, East Hills, Roslyn Heights, Albertson, East Williston, Searingtown, Herricks and Manhasset Hills.

An East Hills resident, Zuckerman spent more than 11 years as a trustee in East Hills, where he lives. In that position he spearheaded the creation of the Park at East Hills, which opened in 2006.

This year’s race was Golis’ first run for office. He worked in the town’s public works department for 35 years and now runs a record label out of his home in Albertson.

Zuckerman touted his role in the board’s efforts to keep the town’s finances stable, such as cutting $600,000 from the budget and reducing debt by $30 million over two years.

Golis argued there was room for further improvement. He said the town could increase revenue by expanding its recycling program and further cut costs by ending private contracts for some services, such as paving and auto maintenance. 

North Hempstead Town Board,

Fourth District

Democrat Anna Kaplan defeated Republican Mary Kay Barket by receiving 66 percent of the votes to win re-election to the town council’s 4th district seat with Barket receiving 34 percent of the votes — 3,101 to 1,608.

“I am indebted to my numerous supporters throughout the district,” Kaplan said. “This overwhelming outpouring of support encourages me to work even harder in the representation of every resident of the fourth district.”

Barket said her campaign could not overcome a “registration advantage” in large Democratic areas.

“We knew this was going to be a tough race. We were very pleased with our 3:2 margin in Manhasset, the people who know us best,” she said. “We were disappointed that we were not able to overcome the registration advantage that the Democrats have in the larger areas. We wish Ms. Kaplan the best, congratulate her on her victory, and look forward to working with her to improve our town.”

Kaplan, of Great Neck, was elected to the town council’s 4th district seat in 2011 and also served as a Great Neck Public Library trustee and member of the North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals.

The 4th district includes the villages of Roslyn, Roslyn Estates, Munsey Park, North Hills, Great Neck, Great Neck Gardens, Kensington, Kings Point, Thomaston, as well as the unincorporated areas of Manhasset and Great Neck.

In a September interview with Blank Slate Media, Kaplan said she credits her opponent’s desire to serve her community by running for the council but her record in prioritizing the issues of senior citizens and children by seeking affordable housing and enhancing parks should see her re-elected.

Barket, a mother of four who runs a part-time actuary consulting business out of her home, said maintenance of Manhasset’s Plandome Road has been virtually ignored by the North Hempstead Town Council, resulting in a dangerous two-lane roadway, a dearth of available parking and empty storefronts.

She had never run for political office before.

Town board members receive a yearly salary of $49,000 for a four-year term.

 

Nassau County Legislature

In an election that saw the lowest voter turnout since 2011, only 21.2 percent of registered voters voted this year, as opposed to the 31 percent that voted in 2013 and 24 percent that voted in 2011, according to data from the county Board of Elections.

Shortly before polls closed at 9 p.m., Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) said he was confident county Democrats would retain their seats on the county Legislature and possibly pick up two.

“I never felt our ability to have a stake in bonding was going to be in jeopardy,” Abrahams said. “I think a two-party system is good for Nassau County and good for the county Legislature as well.”

Coming into the election, Republicans in the county Legislature held 12 of the 19 legislative seats.

If Republicans gained one more seat, the party would have achieved a supermajority, meaning they owned a two-thirds majority, enough to pass legislation, approve borrowing, or override a county executive veto without any Democratic votes. 

Nassau County Legislature, 18th District

In the closest legislative race, Republican incumbent Donald MacKenzie defeated Democratic challenger Dean Hart Tuesday receiving 52 percent of the vote to Hart’s 48 percent in the race to become county Legislator in the 18th district — 5,106 to 4,724.

I feel no remorse or regret,” Hart said. “It was so close. I did the best that a person could do. That’s all you can do for yourself. I’m very proud.”

Efforts to reach MacKenzie were unavailing. 

MacKenzie was first elected to the county legislature in 2013. 

The county’s 18th district which is compromised of North Woodbury, North Syosset, Laurel Hollow, Oyster Bay Cove, Oyster Bay, Cove Neck, Centre Island, Bayville, Mill Neck, Lattingtown, Locust Valley, Matinecock, the Brookvilles, Muttontown, East Norwich, Greenvale, East Hills and Glen Head.

An Oyster Bay resident, MacKenzie is a practicing attorney in the private sector specializing in civil litigation.

Hart ran as the self-proclaimed “anti-politican.”

An optometrist and Old Brookville resident, Hart’s platform focused on “fixing taxpayer money on the county level,” he said.

Taxpayer dollars also played a prominent role in Hart’s desire for an investigation by the state comptroller and attorney general into mailers that were sent out by MacKenzie. 

Entitled, “The Nassau County Legislature is Holding the Line on Property Taxes,” the mailers said that there was no increase in property taxes between 2011-2015. 

The phrase “For households making less than $500K” was added in small print under the claim.

This claim was made despite a 3.4 percent increase in property tax this year.

Last month, Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas asked for an investigation of Mackenzie’s mailers by federal prosecutors.

MacKenzie said that Singas’ rationale about conducting an investigation at the time was curious.

“The timing of her action causes one to question whether it is simply political,” MacKenzie said, alluding to Singas’ election campaign against Murray.

“The Acting District Attorney’s office has on two separate occasions verified the legality of our mailing program. We will continue to communicate our record of success in protecting taxpayers to our constituents,” he said. 

Nassau County Legislature, 10th District

Birnbaum received 63 percent of votes to win re-election as county Legislator of the 10th district against Republican candidate Lisa Benjamin and Green Party candidate Cassandra Lems, who received 35 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

“I am very honored to have been re-elected by the voters of the 10th Legislative district,” Birnbaum said. “During the next two years, I will continue to represent everyone in my district to the best of my ability by serving the public in a way that includes, engages and involves all residents in the process of Nassau County government.”

Efforts to reach Benjamin and Lems were unavailing.

The 10th District includes Great Neck, Herricks, North Hills, North New Hyde Park, Searingtown and Albertson.

Birnbaum, a lifelong Great Neck resident, was elected for her first term as county Legislator in 2013. 

She also served as the director of the Office of Intermunicipal Coordination for the Town of North Hempstead where she worked for 17 years.

Last year, Abrahams stripped her committee assignments, banned her from the minority and Democratic caucus and removed one of her staff members from her office after she allegedly made racially offensive remarks about the Yes We Can Community Center in New Cassel.

Benjamin said Birnbaum has been unable to properly perform her duties as county legislator because of her removal from all county committees and the Democratic caucus.

In an interview with Blank Slate Media in September, Birnbaum said she was restored to the Democratic caucus and her committees.

Benjamin had no previous political experience. 

Lems, a 17-year Herricks resident, said the county Legislature needed new ideas with the complete interest of voters in mind.  

Nassau County Legislature, Ninth District

Republican Richard Nicolello won his 11th term in the county Legislature, defeating Democrat Mal Nathan 66 percent to 34 percent — 6,250 to 3,246.

“Any time you win the support of the public it’s very gratifying and humbling in a way, and I’m eager to get started on the next term and all the problems that are facing the county,” Nicolello said.

Efforts to reach Nathan for comment were unavailing.

Nicolello, a New Hyde Park resident, has represented the Ninth District of Plandome, Plandome Manor, Plandome Heights, Munsey Park, Roslyn Estates, Albertson, Williston Park, East Williston, Mineola, Garden City Park and New Hyde Park since the Legislature’s inception in 1996.

In 2013 he was appointed deputy presiding officer, the second-highest rank within the Republican Majority Caucus.

Nathan, of Williston Park, is currently North Hempstead’s chief bay constable, but the extent of his political experience was canvassing for various Democratic candidates.

Though the county’s budget is still under state oversight, Nicolello said a pair of measures he helped pass will eliminate the county’s annual $80 million in expenses for commercial property tax refunds.

They include a requirement that business owners challenging their property assessments disclose income and expense records up front, and the creation of an “escrow” account separate from the operating budget out of which all refunds will be paid.

While Nathan said he has great respect for Nicolello, he said the Legislator’s role as part of the Republican establishment prevented him from moving the county in a positive direction.

In a sit-down interview with Blank Slate Media, Nathan criticized the privatization of public services such as buses and sewer maintenance.

Republicans, including Nicolello, say the contracts save the county millions of dollars each year. But Nathan said they constitute “giving away” the county’s infrastructure.

Nicolello’s salary as deputy presiding officer is $62,500.

Nassau County Legislature, 11th District

Democratic incumbent Delia DeRiggi-Whitton defeated Republican challenger Matthew Connolly receiving 65 percent of votes to Connolly’s 35 percent — 7,331 to 3,962 —to remain County Legislator in the 11th district. 

“I’m very happy to be able to represent the 11th district again,” De-Riggi-Whitton said. “I appreciate the support.”

The 11th district includes Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glenwood Landing, Roslyn Harbor, Roslyn, Flower Hill, Port Washington, Port Washington North, Baxter Estates, Manorhaven and Sands Point. 

 De-Riggi Whitton also praised the voters of Nassau County. 

“Nassau County voters are intelligent and they understand what is going on,” she said.

Despite not getting elected, Connolly praised the teamwork that went into his campaign.

“Obviously it is not the outcome we wanted, but I am tremendously proud of the job we did on the campaign,” he said.

Conolly also said that he was glad that the issues his campaign addressed were able to engage voters. 

Before being elected to the Nassau County Legislature, DeRiggi-Whitton served two terms as a member of the Glen Cove City Council.

A 1986 graduate of Glen Cove High School, DeRiggi-Whitton believes in financial oversight and fiscal responsibility. 

In Glen Cove, she said, she worked to ensure that the city budget was properly balanced.

DeRiggi-Whitton said she met regularly with department heads to foster budget compliance, and she fought against tax increases.

Connolly is a former Nassau County Assistant District Attorney. 

Now practicing as a private attorney with a practice in the county, Connolly spent five years with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and was ultimately promoted to County Court felony trial bureau.

A Glen Cove resident, Connolly is a member of the Glen Cove Republican Club. 

Nassau County Legislature, 16th District

Democratic incumbent Judy Jacobs defeated Republican challenger Angel Cepeda Tuesday receiving 69 percent of the vote to Cepeda’s 31 percent — 7,344 to 2,751 —to remain County Legislator in the 16th district.  

“I’m humbled and honored by the support I’ve received from the 16th legislative community,” Jacobs said. “I love what I do and I am so pleased when I can help my constituents with any problem they are facing. I thank them all. I am very appreciative.”

Efforts to reach Cepeda were unavailing.

Jacobs, a Woodbury resident, has served ten terms as legislator for the county’s 16th district. 

The 16th district includes Plainview, Old Bethpage, Jericho, Syosset, Woodbury, Hicksville, Old Westbury and Roslyn Heights.

During her 20 years as county legislator, which included a stint as presiding officer when the Democrats controlled the Legislature, Jacobs has been at the forefront of a number of legislative efforts.

Jacobs said she helped ban smoking in all restaurants, bars and workplaces in the county. She said she has also worked with leaders from Suffolk County on issues like Medicaid reform and economic development that affect residents across Long Island.

Recently, Jacobs has been working on the final phase of the Roslyn Road improvement.

Jacobs said the proposed changes would condense Roslyn Road from I.U. Willets Road to the Long Island Expressway Service Road from four lanes to two.

The cutoff for Locust Lane would also be eliminated and a traffic light would be installed the intersection of Roslyn Road and Locust Lane. 

Cepeda came to America from Ecuador when he was two years old.

A Plainview resident, Cepeda said he would be more energetic and proactive than Jacob.

He has worked for Bank of America, and as an IT Audit Director at the accounting firm of Paul Scherer & Company LLP in New York City.

Since 2010, Cepeda has served as the president of Blue Mountain Consulting Group. As president, he was worked to help small businesses. 

Cepeda also served two terms as a trustee on the Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education from 2007-2012.

The salary for county legislators are $39,500 a year for a two-year term.

About the author

Joe Nikic Noah Manskar And Harrison Marder

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